NPR Cuts Executive Pay as Corporate Sponsors’ Payments Fall


National Public Radio, the purveyor of “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered” and “Planet Money,” is cutting executives’ pay to combat the effects of the economic collapse brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The radio and podcasting giant does not run traditional advertisements, but nearly one-third of its revenue has come from corporate sponsors like Angie’s List, General Motors, State Farm and Trader Joe’s.

In an email to the staff on Friday, John Lansing, who joined the nonprofit as chief executive in September, projected that NPR would fall $12 million to $15 million short of the amount it had expected to receive from sponsors this year. He described the pay cuts as a way for NPR to avoid layoffs.

“We do not have any position eliminations on the table now,” Mr. Lansing said in the email, which was reviewed by The New York Times, “and it is our goal to avoid them as much as is reasonably possible.”

Mr. Lansing’s own pay will be reduced by 25 percent, said Isabel Lara, an NPR spokeswoman; other NPR executives will have their salaries cut by 10 to 15 percent.

In the email, Mr. Lansing projected a budget deficit of $30 million to $45 million. NPR was looking to save as much as $25 million in costs through the pay cuts and by keeping a close eye on discretionary spending, he said.

Ms. Lara declined to confirm the figures in the email. “NPR is taking a significant budget hit because of the economic lockdown,” she said in a statement, adding that its “main priority is to preserve jobs.”

Paul G. Haaga Jr., the chairman of NPR’s board of directors, said he believed NPR was built to withstand tough economic times. “My personal view is, I don’t think we’re going to need to make huge permanent cuts that will undermine the mission,” Mr. Haaga said. “We’ve got a lot of reserves, we’ve been prudent in our finances and our investment management. That’s going to benefit us in this difficult time.”



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